Objectives and expected results: An integrated approach to response resources at sea, on the coast and in ports.
Experience shows that in terms of civil protection, cross-border cooperation contributes to more effective prevention and preparation for disasters related to pollution risks.
Moreover, pollution response preparedness must, by its very nature, be constantly adapted to the evolution of threats and response techniques, taking into account the organizations involved. This is the purpose of the IRA-MAR project "Improving the Integrated Response to pollution Accident at sea & chemical risk in port", which aims to support the countries bordering the western Mediterranean basin and the Atlantic (Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Portugal and Tunisia) in order to improve preparedness and response to pollution risks (including risks related to the traffic of hazardous and noxious substances in ports) through an integrated approach to response capabilities at sea, on the coast and in ports.
Learning from previous accidents:
Indeed, ports are the entry and exit points of chemicals, which are handled there but also of gas carriers and are particularly exposed to chemical risks including chemical clouds, as demonstrated by the accident in the port of Beirut where 2 explosions occurred in 2020. Although it did not produce any marine pollution, the second explosion, of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a shed in the port area, caused considerable human and material damage not only among the ships anchored in the port or offshore but also throughout the city of Beirut.
Continuity of the WESTMoPoCo project: capitalizing on established regional cooperation
The project is a continuation of a previous WESTMoPoCo project (Western Mediterranean Region Marine Oil and HNS Pollution Cooperation) which aimed to support cooperation between the beneficiary countries in the field of preparedness and response to marine pollution by oil and hazardous and noxious substances (HNS), leading to the development of the HNS Response Manual which brings together operational recommendations on the preparedness and response phases in the event of a pollution incident at sea involving HNS.
The main work areas of the project:
In addition to the coordination and communication mission entrusted to the SGMer, the project includes 4 work areas:
The IRA-MAR project contributes :
- The WestMED Initiative and whose countries have committed to work together to strengthen maritime safety and the fight against marine pollution (priority 1 of the roadmap);
- The action plan published by EMSA in 2007, for the preparation and response to potentially harmful and dangerous substances;
- The updating of all the national emergency measures of the beneficiary countries (revision of the POLMAR instruction in France).